Saturday, 14 March 2015

Legacies of Charlie Hebdo

We'll be a long time living through, and coming to an understanding of, the legacies of the Charlie Hebdo killings, and the perfervid ideological responses which they elicited.   I am noting here a variety of the best writing on the events that I've found.

Toni Negri has a long history of leftist radicalism.  He is one of the leading figures of Italian Autonomism, a libertarian or quasi-syndicalist strain on the left that stresses workers' freedom and will.  Convicted many years ago by an Italian court with complicity in the murder by the Red Brigades of Aldo Moro, Negri fled to France, where he taught for some years at the experimental Paris campus at Vincennes.  He later returned to Italy to serve out a reduced sentence.  With Michael Hardt, he's the author of one of the major revisionist Marxist theoretical projects of recent times, evidenced in their co-written volumes Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth.   

The essay below, and the links to Lordon, Hazan, Sand and Badiou, is taken from the Verso website:

Charlie Hebdo, fear and world war: two questions for Toni Negri

Frédéric Lordon teaches in Strasbourg, and is the author of a recent Spinozist re-reading of Marx, Willing Slaves of Capital:

Frédéric Lordon: Charlie at any cost?

Étienne Balibar is a veteran French Marxist philosopher, famous initially as a colleague of Althusser, and more prominent recently for his writings on race and identity:

Étienne Balibar: Three words for the dead and the living

When I was in Paris at the time of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter, I was exploring the city carrying Eric Hazan's wonderful The Invention of Paris in my satchel.  This superb book, a radical history of the city spiralling out from its old core towards the périphérique, moving arrondissement by arrondissement - even street by street at times - deserves extended treatment and praise.  Hazan is a leftist activist and publisher:

Eric Hazan: 'A little cynicism goes a long way'

Shlomo Sand is an Israeli historian and political scientist, working and teaching in France.  He shot to fame around 2010 with a book entitled The Invention of the Jewish People, in which he dismantled, in the manner of the work of Ernest Gellner and Eric Hobsbawm on nationalism, the retrojected claims of Zionism for the existence of an ancient Jewish 'nation-race'.  This work has provoked a firestorm of reaction and debate.  Sand's most recent  book is How I Ceased to Be A Jew.

Shlomo Sand: 'I am not Charlie'

Alain Badiou could claim to be the living French philosopher most widely read in the Anglosphere today.  He combines complex studies of subjectivity and ontology with the most radical Maoism.  He has long been critical of French mainstream attitudes to race and anti-Semitism.

The Red Flag and the Tricolore by Alain Badiou

Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill Mullen, writing at Critical Legal Thinking - Law and the Political:

Rewinding the Battle of Algiers in the Shadow of the Attack on Charlie Hebdo

Arthur Asseraf, in a superb piece on Jadaliyya, explores the history of 'freedom of speech' in France:

Charlie Hebdo and the Limits of the Republic


Taken from Lenin's Tomb, Richard Seymour on how France's policies help forge Islamist jihadis:

How France makes jihadis





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